The second attempt to do Marvel’s first family on film is more successful than the first — in fact, it’s actually good enough to release to theatres! But ultimately, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis are the only saving graces of what is otherwise a total misfire. The great superhero movie rewatch examines the 2005 Fantastic Four.
This movie and its sequel have come under tremendous amount of fire, and while some of it is deserved, the movie has two very big things going for it: their names are Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis.
Honestly, I remember my first thought after seeing this movie thirteen years ago was that I wanted the next movie to be called Strange Tales (a title that featured the Human Torch and the Thing at various points in the 1960s and 1970s) and only feature Chiklis and Evans, with Reed and Sue off on their honeymoon.
Chiklis apparently lobbied to play Ben Grimm, and he’s letter perfect in the role, from his easy friendship with Ioan Gruffudd’s Reed to his equally easy friendship with Jessica Alba’s Sue to his war of words and deeds with Evans’s Johnny to his frustration with being the Thing. The moment when he can’t pick Debbie’s discarded engagement ring up off the pavement because his fingers are too big is just heartbreaking, and Chiklis does an amazing job of selling Ben’s anguish through the metric shit-ton of latex he’s covered in.
Anybody who’s followed the Marvel Cinematic Universe knows the greatness of Evans. If Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the heart of the MCU, Evans’s Captain America is the soul. So it’s even more impressive to see him in this role that’s 180 degrees from Cap, an adrenaline junkie who jumps into being a superhero and a celebrity with both feet. Evans is a pure delight, and he and Chiklis make a superlative combination.
It’s really too bad they’re stuck in this movie.